Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Canadian Trail Races, Gatineau Park and Rock Lobster (I mean...Dunder)

Rock Dunder
We have wanted to go to Rock Dunder ever since we heard about it a number of years ago while I was working at Trailhead. There was a big push to preserve this piece of property and we finally had a chance to see first hand why.

While Sara and I didn’t explore Rock Dunder by our normal means of trail running, we enjoyed it just the same by taking Brennan and Heather on a fun filled hike on Saturday. It is less than an hour drive from our home, located on highway #15 near the village of Morton. We were surprised at the rugged terrain, elevation gain and beautiful views. The hike we did started out as a gradual climb that eventually popped us out on a beautiful summit overlooking Morton Bay.

After a quick lunch, while enjoying the view, we continued down the loop to a cabin on the water and were treated to a very refreshing swim to cool off from our hike. The soft pine needles on the final section of trail out to the parking lot were a soothing way to finish our hike.

Having thought that we knew every trail in the region, we were very surprised at this gem. This was prime Canadian Shield and there were many parts that actually reminded us of our trips to the Adirondacks. While the trail system isn’t too extensive, it was certainly enough to come back, do a few creative loops, and you could get in a decent length run.

Gatineau Park
I had a Monday morning meeting in Ottawa, so we made the last minute decision on Sunday afternoon to head to Ottawa to stay over night. One of the things that pulled us in was to have the opportunity to go for a run in Gatineau Park. Surprisingly, we haven’t really spent much time in the Gats other than a snowshoe fastpack a few years ago, so don’t really know the trails very well.

With it getting a little later by the time we got there, we felt it was best to just park at the Visitor Center and run from there. As I said we didn’t really know where we were going, or how to get there, so were a little disappointed to find that the initial loop from the parking lot was all of about 10 minutes long, which was not really enough to satisfy our trail running needs. Upon another inspection of the trail map, we headed off and were able to find some nice trails featuring great climbing. The problem was that we were getting pulled in further and further while not wanting to turn around. Common sense prevailed, and that fact that we hadn’t brought headlamps, we turned back in time to avoid getting caught in the dark.

This quick taste of the Gats left us longing to get back for a full day for more exploration. Armed with our newly purchased guidebook and maps, we are already drooling over where to run next time.

Canadian Race Highlights
There were some great trail races this past weekend with the NACAC Mountain Running Championships on Friday night and the Knee Knacker 30mile race on Saturday...

The NACAC Mountain Running Championships featured some of the top mountain runners in Canada and the US. It was great to see Taylor Murphy run well on the course and finish as top Canadian in second place. American Joe Gray won the race, but Team Canada beat the US by one place for the team title. This years race was supposed to be entirely run uphill, but the route had to be altered at the last minute due to Grizzly bear activity in the area. The course was therefore moved to Canmore and did feature some downhill segments as well. Top Canadian finishers have earned the right, pending funding, to represent Canada at the World Mountain Running Championships later this summer in Slovania. Complete results

The Knee Knacker 30mile race was also held on a very challenging course in BC this weekend. Adam Campbell won the mens race in his second ever ultra race, against a top field of Western Canada ultra runners including recent 6th place Western States 100 Mile finisher Gary Robbins. Ellie Greenwood was the top female in the race smashing the old course record in a time of 5:06, while finishing in 6th place overall. Complete results.

Training Week Summary
Not much to report here. I am trying to be very patient and mix long days or harder days with shorter recovery days to baby my knee and achilles. This approach has been working very well in combination with plenty of rehab. I’ve feeling pretty good now and actually got in 3 runs of 90 minutes last week including one light tempo workout. The goal for this coming week will be to increase the length of my runs and aim to get into the 2+ hour range again.

Total # of hours last week: 7:48
Total # of hours this year: 298:11
Streak (# of consecutive days of running): 7,503
Training Details of the Week

I couldn’t help but think about the song Rock Lobster when we were hiking Rock Dunder on the weekend. While I was a little more into Punk than the New Wave movement when I was younger, I have to admit that I did, and still do, own the record…

1 comment: